How to Cook The Cheapest Cuts of Meat

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Top Tier Gear USA


Good morning dear, How are you today? I am very surprised you have asked me for advice on cooking meat. With you writing cookery books and doing all that canning stuff I was most surprised. Well, I’d better get on with it then if that’s what you want.

With meat, the cheaper cuts are usually the toughest and unless you cook them properly then you will end up with something that’s good for mending a hole in your shoe but not good to serve with nice fresh vegetables and crispy teddies. (Ed note: Teddies are Devon-speak for potatoes).

The tougher cuts usually come from the part of the animal that does most of the work, the thighs, for example. Most animals have huge muscles in their rumps and this can also lead to tough meat if it is incorrectly cooked..though I am partial to rump steak on occasions.

Tough cuts need to be cooked long, slow and moist. Done right it will result in some of the tastiest meat you have ever had on your plate.

Stew and casserole are the things that come into most people’s heads when you mention moist cooking, but even these can be cooked too quickly and result in tough little bits of meat mixed with you beautiful vegetables.

Braising is my favourite method of cooking cheap cuts. The meat is put in a huge enamel roaster and enough cold water to come up the side of the meat a good couple of inches. That’s it, nothing else, no seasoning of any kind, nothing. The lid is put on and the whole thing goes into a cold oven. It’s important that the heat builds up slowly so as not to cause the meat to contract, to shrink too quickly because that’s what makes it tough.

Every hour the meat should be turned so that all of it spends part of the cooking time in the water. The water will begin to mix with the juices released from the meat and this adds to the flavour.

When the meat is cooked, a skewer should allow the release of just clear juices, let it rest before attempting to carve it. Letting it rest allows the juices that have bubbled up through the meat to slowly sink back down making the whole joint tender and juicy without a hint of dryness. The water and juices you have left should be allowed to cool. The fat will have risen to the top and will be easy to remove from the liquid. It is excellent fat to reuse, we save ours in a small plastic tub in the freezer. The liquid forms the base of the gravy to serve with your meal.

Cheap cuts of lamb, such as the breast and shoulder cuts need to be treated a little differently. These cuts are very fatty, unpalatabley so if you cook them incorrectly. They still need a long time in the oven but the method is a little different.

The same tin as was used for beef and pork will be fine. Ours is a black enamelled roaster with a lid.

Put the lamb into the tin and just put a couple of spoons of cold water over it, unlike the beef and pork the fat we are going to get out of the lamb will slow roast it. The water is to create a little steam and keep the meat moist until the fat starts to melt out of the meat.

In the oven it goes. After an hour and a half turn the meat so it is skin down and an hour later turn it skin up again. Don’t drain off the fat at this point.

When the skewer test shows just clear juices drain the fat out of the tin, leave the lid off the roaster and put the lamb back in the oven on high heat for 10 minutes. This makes the skin crisp up a little and encourages the remaining fat out of the meat. Drain this fat also, put the lid back on and leave it to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

The juices are tasty but far too fatty to use as the base for gravy. Add just a spoon or so to the gravy to give it a little boost and a nice gloss.

With a cheap cut of lamb such as shoulder costing around £7-£9 a pound against a leaner cut at £12-£15 per pound it makes sense to learn how to cook the cheaper cuts properly.

A chunk of fore rib beef, like the one we had last month which provided a modest portion each for eight people came in at just under £40. The same sized joint but from the shin or chuck area would have cost around half that, the portions would have been far bigger and there would have been enough left over for a couple of casseroles for Edith and me. In case you’re wondering why we bought the silverside…we didn’t, Paul and Delores provided the meat. I nearly passed out when they told me how much it was.

Well, there you have it, the Granny guide to cooking cheap meat cuts. I hope it’s of some use Tess.

Thank you for asking about Edith, she’s doing fine, they are going to do the hip replacement tomorrow all being well. She will be coming home on Monday if everything goes to plan so I may not be around as much next week as she will need lots of love and fuss when she comes home.

The boys are still popping in morning and night which is starting to annoy me a bit. They mean well but for goodness sake I can look after myself. They say:

“Oh yeah, right, nana said that and then fell over and bust her hip.”

Love to all of you,




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  • James

    For tender beef. Here I take a cut of high priced water buffalo. Up around a $1 a pound U.S. I do add some spice. If I wish. Put it in the preasure cooker and turn on the heat. Preasure cook 10 to 15 min. Let stean recead, open pot and remove water buffalo for grilling or cooking. I like bone in remove bone if you wish and save with the broth in the preasure cooker in the soup broth jug for later use. Very little oil or fat on waterbuffalo. 95% lean meat. Older goat I do the same. Waterbuffalo and goat broth mix makes a good soup base. Go and buy some bones with some meat on them. Repreasure cook till meat falls from bones. Spice before cooking the broth. Next add vegatables or beans and represure cook all together. Very tender meat of good flavor. And take my word for it a waterbuffalo is one tough animal. Very lean meat and great taste. So beef would not take as long. All our beef here is imported if you can find it. Very expensive! Last imported meat I had was Turkey here. well over $6 a pound U.S. Had some freinds over and told them we were having American chicken. Bird got some looks. First Turkey they had ever seen here.

    • no thing like and good tatanka stake

  • Hammerun

    I’ve got large hunks of beef and pork down to a tee. You know those huge hunks of beef and pork at Costco for about $40 bucks. Cook all day long at 225 degrees, covered. The rue that comes off of it makes the best gravy that goes over mashed white potatoes. More water makes more rue.
    Another one I use is pork loin. Dog dirt cheap, screw pork chops, loins way better.
    Another one is a Filet Strip. It runs about $14 odd a pound. ( you get about 9 or 10 steaks) I can get one of these and Ruth Crist would have a problem measuring up. Their filet steaks go for $50 plus. These are about $9 bucks.
    However though I’m on a new quest. My wife and I have gotten into “street tacos”.
    What are they. Double 3″ warmed corn tortillas with carne asada topped with white onion, selantro, lime and salsa. I order six at a time. Killer stuff!!
    What I’m looking for is a marinade recipe and cooking procedure for carne asada.
    I’ll trade my secret recipe for biscuits that makes southern grandmaws kneel and cry.
    Actually I’ll throw in a goody. You know those cheesy biscuits that Red Lobster and Cracker Barrel has that everybody goes nutts over. Those too.
    It took me 3 days and 100# of flour and 46 different recipes and a shit ton of biscuits but I figured out what everybody was doing wrong, its in the procedure not the contents.
    Let me know.

    • Hammerun

      2 cups flour
      3 tablespoons baking powder
      1 teaspoon salt
      In a bowl and whisk it together
      Add 1/3 cup shortening
      And whisk it in a lot.
      Add 2 cups of milk
      Use a spatula and mix well
      It will be loose, thats the stunt.
      Getting the baking powder wet enough to react.
      On a board put about a cup of flour and spread it out.
      Put the mixture in the middle and knead it back to a biscuit type dough.
      If its still to loose, keep kneading flour into it until it gets there. You want it NOT as thin as pancake batter and not as thick as dough, somewheres in the middle. Don’t worry about how loose it is, you can bring it back with flour.
      Hint, When kneading it fold it in half and use the heel of your hand and push it together,
      This makes them flaky.
      Pat it out into 3/4″ thick.
      Use a cookie cutter about 2 to 2 1/2″ and cut them out.
      Grease a steel flat cookie sheet and place them on it.
      Oven 425 degrees and bake till golden or brown. What ever you prefer.
      You’ll get 2″ flaky biscuits out of this.
      If you don’t, to much shortening will kill the rise and to much salt will as well.
      You can substitute water for the milk and you won’t taste the difference.
      Buttermilk will change the taste but not enough to go our and buy a quart of it.
      Play with it, you might not hit it right off the bat but this the way.
      I found it by accident when in my experiments I added to much milk. I just went with it and WALA! Like I said the stunt is getting it wet enough to get the baking powder to react. If you get it to react, NO MORE HOCKEY PUCKS!!
      As far as the cheesy biscuits, just before you start to knead it, add grated cheddar cheese to the mix in the bowl and mix it in. Thats it. Just knead as usual and bake.

  • Joe Lizak

    It was strong of you not to include the oven temperature.


    @ what temperature?